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Lima hat-trick ensures history for Braga

Sevilla FC 3-4 SC Braga (agg: 3-5)
One goal from Matheus and a Lima hat-trick earned the visitors a remarkable win and a place in the group stage for the first time.

Braga celebrate a famous victory in Seville
Braga celebrate a famous victory in Seville ©Getty Images

Lima came on and scored a hat-trick as SC Braga beat Sevilla FC on the night and on aggregate to qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time.

Matheus, the match-winner in last week's play-off first leg, gave Braga a telling advantage at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán with his fourth goal in six games. Antonio Álvarez's hosts received a further blow on 58 minutes when substitute Lima left them needing to score four. They swiftly got one through Luís Fabiano but despite Jesús Navas restoring parity on the night, two late goals from Lima extended the Portuguese team's lead, rendering Frédéric Kanouté's added-time strike immaterial.

Navas's ability to ghost into space had caused Braga an early headache, but it was Sevilla's aerial threat which proved most problematic for them throughout the opening period. Luís Fabiano was three times the perpetrator – once heading over and twice at Felipe – though it was Kanouté who spurned the two most presentable opportunities, nodding over on one occasion and into Felipe's arms on another.

The visitors, who appeared overrun in midfield, had nevertheless registered a valuable away goal amid Kanouté's profligacy. Paulo César's break injected some much-needed energy and appeared to catch Andrés Palop off guard, the Sevilla keeper fumbling his drilled shot into the path of Matheus, who turned the ball in despite Palop's best attempts to smother at the second attempt.

Los Rojiblancos emerged from half-time with positive intentions but could muster only a long-range Didier Zokora shot which whistled wide before Braga stretched their lead. Despite being on the back foot, Domingos Paciência's side counterattacked to devastating effect once more, Matheus this time doing the leg work and crossing for Lima to slot past Palop just three minutes after coming on.

With a mountain to climb, Sevilla responded in defiant fashion, Luís Fabiano's low effort squirming through Felipe's grasp almost immediately. José Carlos hit the bar from an acute angle and Kanouté headed over soon after but it was not until Navas's cool finish six minutes from time that their faint hopes received a boost.

They were dashed within 60 seconds, though, Lima racing through and rounding Palop before rubber-stamping a memorable night for he and his team with a last-minute finish from a corner. Kanouté's added-time header barely registered among a delirious away support.

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